Vienna native an angel of the air

Vienna native Bruce Roberts was glad he could help a Parkersburg family on Thursday.

Piloting his Cirrus SR22, complete with parachute, Roberts flew from his home in Leesburg, Va., near Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia to meet Kristina Jordan and her one-year-old daughter Cassie of Parkersburg. Cassie, who has retinoblastoma, or a cancerous tumor in the retina of the eye, is being treated at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia.

As a member of Angel Flight, Roberts volunteered to fly the Jordans back to Wood County in his four-seat, single-engine airplane. It also gave Roberts an opportunity to visit with his 1970 Parkersburg High School classmates at J.P. Henry’s and other people while in town. Roberts, who said he is semi-retired, has flown about a dozen families on medical missions through the program this fall.

“It is a great opportunity to do what I love,” Roberts told me. “There is a lot of need out there for transportation.”

Jordan said she was thankful for Roberts and Angel Flight’s generous gift. She said Cassie is doing well in her battle against cancer and is scheduled to return to Wills in six weeks.

Roberts, 62, owned four pharmacies in Northern Virginia for 35 years and was chief executive officer of the National Community Pharmacists Association. Roberts is the son of Helen Roberts, who lives in Richmond, Va., and the late Bill Roberts.

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Cynthia (Andrews) Deem wanted to purchase the Don Whitlatch print “The Spirit” at the recent Christmas benefit auction at the 19th Street Country Club in Parkersburg. Deem planned to give the painting of the bronze Mountaineer mascot standing on a cliff overlooking the New River Gorge to her son, Josh, a WVU Mountaineer fan. But someone else kept topping her bid. The bidding war ended when Deem bid $825 and the gentleman said $850. “I’m done at $825,” Deem said. The other bidder was Harry Hornish, who walked over to Deem and handed her the painting he had just bought. “Merry Christmas,” Hornish said. Deem said she was flabbergasted to receive the gift. “That meant a lot to me,” she said. Hornish was driving up the bid on the painting to raise more money for disadvantaged children at Christmas. The $4,630 generated by the auction and contributions will be used to purchase Christmas toys and clothes for children in seven local families and food for the parents through the Salvation Army, said Dave Wright, owner of the 19th Street Country Club.

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Area residents who gather at the Hardee’s on Seventh Street in Parkersburg, the Vienna McDonald’s, the 19th Street Country Club in Parkersburg and walk at Grand Central Mall contributed money to purchase 37 bicycles and helmets for children at Christmas through the Toys for Tots program. It’s the third year these caring people have each donated $100 to brighten Christmas for local children. The organizers, who meet at Hardee’s, want to remain anonymous. The program has mushroomed from five or six bicycles the first year and 27 last year, the organizers said.

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Tyler Warner, former football player at Parkersburg High School and Marshall University, is looking forward to speaking at this evening’s spirit rally for Christians at the E.L.I.T.E. Sports Center at 2000 First Ave. in south Parkersburg. Warner, who lives in Lexington, Ky., works for Athletes in Action sports ministry. “I’m excited to be able to share the Gospel message … what it says to me,” Warner said. Joining Warner at “Competitors Celebrating Christ” will be Matt Lindamood, former West Virginia University football player; Larry “Mad Max” Maxwell, from Parkersburg South High School, and Bob Carr, Parkersburg High School assistant boys basketball coach. The music starts at 5:30 p.m. and the testimonies at 6 p.m.

Contact Paul LaPann at plapann@newsandsentinel.com